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Challenges in Developing a New Energy Engineering Major

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Curriculum and Facility Developments for Innovative Energy Education

Tagged Division

Energy Conversion and Conservation

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.295.1 - 25.295.8



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Paper Authors


Sarma V. Pisupati Pennsylvania State University, University Park Orcid 16x16

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Sarma V. Pisupati has been working in the area of energy for the past 20 years. Currently, he is Associate Professor and Energy Engineering Program Officer in the Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering at Penn State University.

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Yaw D. Yeboah Pennsylvania State University, University Park

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Yaw D. Yeboah is professor and Head, John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering.

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Challenges in Developing a New Energy Engineering Major With the world’s thirst for energy continuing to grow, there is now an urgent demand for a welltrained workforce to develop, process, utilize and manage conventional, unconventional, and renewableenergy sources in an environmentally safe and economically feasible way. The Department of___________ Engineering at _______ University developed for the first time in the US, a formalundergraduate degree program (Bachelor of Science) in the growing field of energy engineering andoffered it from Fall of 2007. Through collaboration and cooperative arrangements with otherdepartments and colleges, and flexibility in the program, science and engineering students with specialinterests in energy would be able to obtain a BS degree in Energy Engineering. The first two years of the program are similar to traditional engineering disciplines. Thereafter,one takes a series of courses that introduce Energy Engineering concepts. Fundamental energyengineering principles involve material and energy balances, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, heat andmass transfer operations, and physical and chemical processing as applied to energy industries. Inaddition to these engineering principles, students enroll in required courses in renewable/sustainableenergy principles. Students will be trained in basic chemistry of fuels – coal, petroleum, natural gas andbiomass; combustion; petroleum and natural gas processing; electrochemical energy conversion; andenergy conversion processes including chemical, nuclear, biological and catalytic. Students also choosedepartmental electives from courses such as green energy engineering and environmental compliance,hydrogen and fuel cell technology, materials for energy applications, physical processes in energyengineering, and air pollutants from combustion sources. Technical electives can be chosen to providespecialization or breadth and depth in renewable or non-renewable energy and/or mechanical orchemical aspects of energy. Professional electives allow students to gain exposure to business, legal andethical issues related to energy. The program has just graduated its first class in 2011 and seeking ABET accreditation this fall.The program has seen an explosion in enrollment from seven in fall 0f 2007 to 64 in the fall of 2008 andreached a high of 300 by fall of 2011. This paper discusses the curriculum development, in the programand the challenges in scheduling classes to cope with the increasing enrollment and ABET accreditationprocess.

Pisupati, S. V., & Yeboah, Y. D. (2012, June), Challenges in Developing a New Energy Engineering Major Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21053

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